The Hanging of Jean Lee

The Hanging of Jean LeeA razor-sharp ‘underbelly song cycle’, The Hanging of Jean Lee traces the life of the last Australian woman hanged at Pentridge Gaol in 1951.

Inspired by multi-award winning Melbourne poet Jordie Albiston’s (Kenneth Slessor Award 2010 and Mary Gilmore Prize) chilling verse biography, Lee’s story plays out in a dramatic concert version with original music, lyrical text and haunting visual projections.

Jean Lee – along with lover Robert Clayton and criminal Norman Andrews – was convicted for torturing and murdering 73-year-old bookie William ‘Pop’ Kent. When questioned, Lee perversely confessed sole responsibility in an attempt to protect her lover.

Post-punk music genres infuse a score that evokes a noir-esque underworld and exposes raw emotions, performed by iconic Melburnians: ARIA award winner Max Sharam as Jean Lee, Bad Seeds co-founder Hugo Race as Robert Clayton, Australian rock icon Jeff Duff as William Kent and Underbelly’s Simon Maiden as Norman Andrews.

Backed by a seven-piece band, including legendary jazz musicians Lachlan Davidson and Shane Gillard, Andrea Keeble, Harry Cook, Willy Zygier (Deborah Conway), along with Lucas Taranto and Joshua Barber – both of the internationally acclaimed Gotye.

Working with film practitioners including Janet Merewether, Steve MacDonald, and Shawn Seet, Andrée Greenwell directed the projection content – drawing upon the biographic film documentary to provide critical narrative and context to underpin the score.

Greenwell’s music veers poignantly from erotic charge to sharp lament, combining pop, impro and jazz forms to create a unique ‘theatre of music’ – unnerving, confronting and ultimately humane.

The Hanging of Jean Lee
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Season: 7 – 8 December 2013
Bookings: (03) 9322 3713 or online at:

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